cover image Hangman


Faye Kellerman, Morrow, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06170-256-3

Kellerman once again mixes mystery and soap opera in her 19th novel featuring Lt. Peter Decker of the LAPD and his wife, Rina Lazarus (after Blindman's Bluff). Terry McLaughlin, a doctor and battered wife, asks Decker, who's an old friend, to help mediate a meeting with her abusive husband. When McLaughlin disappears soon after the meeting, her 14-year-old son, Gabe, a gifted piano prodigy, is left on his own. Welcomed into the Decker/Lazarus household, Gabe is allowed to attend their youngest daughter's Jewish day school, even though he's Catholic. Meanwhile, Decker fears that an unidentified woman who's found hanged at a construction site may be Gabe's mother. Readers should be prepared for some unconvincing police procedure (members of Decker's team obliviously contaminate a crime scene) and some stilted prose ("Everything works out. Sometimes it works out good. And sometimes it works out bad. It's the bad that concerns me"), but series fans will cheer the serendipitous developments that lead to a better life for Gabe. (Aug.)